How to Turn This Financial Crisis into a Financial Win

Episode 33 · June 5th, 2020 · 38 mins 30 secs

About this Episode

Eric Brotman, CFP, gives his strategies for turning this financial crisis and recession into a financial win for your family.

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Free Budget Spreadsheet: https://leads.budgetsmadeeasy.com/budget-sheet

Full transcript:

Welcome to the money mindset podcast, where you will find the inspiration and motivation. You need to manage your money better. So you can stress less and live the life you want. This is Ashley with budgets made easy and the money mindset podcast. Today, we are talking to Eric Brotman, who is a CFP and the CEO of BFG financial advisors.

And he is the host of don't retire, graduate podcasts. So don't retire, graduate.com, check out his podcast is well. And he's going to give us some great advice for families on how to take advantage of certain things during this financial crisis. You know, if you can, if you're still working, he's got some really great tips on lowering your tax burden and some things that you can do to take advantage of certain things happening right now in the financial world. So you can take this crisis and turn it into a financial win. And so he's got some really great ideas on how to do that. Now, before we jump into his episode, be sure to go and check out my free spreadsheet. I put together a spreadsheet after years of people asking me to, and you can get a free one month sheet of that, or you can get the whole year, you get a special offer for the whole year.
Once you sign up for the free sheet, go to www.leads.budgetsmadeeasy.com/budget-sheet. So go get your free paycheck budget spreadsheet. So this is the same spreadsheet that I use when we were paying off debt. It's broken down by Paychex. Plus you got a monthly view. Now, keep in mind the free sheet isn't as detailed as the yearly sheet. So if you want the yearly sheet, look for that. Once you sign up for the free sheet as well. Now, here is my interview with Eric. Hi Eric. Thank you so much for being with us today. Hi, Ashley. Thanks for having me. I am. So I'm excited to talk to you today. Um, it's my understanding that you've got some good advice for families in different stages, what to do with their finances right now during this whole crisis. And, um, I really want to talk to you about that today, but can you just kind of introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself?

Absolutely. I'm a certified financial planner practitioner started a company, in 2003 in suburban, Maryland actually started my practice in 1994. So I'm dating myself. I realized at this moment we have 20 employees, each of us working from 20 different homes, which is a new experience, but, uh, eight financial advisors, 20 employees, we manage about $450 million for families in 31 and a few foreign countries. And we do financial planning and wealth management for multigenerational families. So in my spare time, I'm a husband and a father and a podcaster and author and a volunteer.

Yes, as I was just hearing about your book coming out soon. So I'm excited to hear about that as well. So, um, you know, there's a lot of crazy stuff going on right now and I know people are scared and, you know, we don't know what the economy and everything is going to look like on the other side of this thing. Um, so, you know, what kind of advice would you give to families right now? Like, is there anything that they should be doing differently?

Well, I think in each case, it depends upon the family situation somewhat. Um, right now there are a lot of families who are experiencing sudden job loss and for those families, um, the things to do differently are, are really based on almost triaged. You just have to get through this period of time, however long it lasts. And that's easier said than done sometimes. So for, for families, who've had sudden job loss. Uh, the first thing to do is to sort of take, uh, take inventory of resources, figure out what you're going to live on for the next couple of months, in addition to unemployment, uh, and, and really make a plan for getting back to work at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later. So, um, there's not as much opportunity quite candidly for folks who are out of work. And that's obviously a sad situation, um, for folks who are still able to work through this.

I think we'll look back on this five years from now, not only as being memorable and remarkable on so many social levels, but also as being one of the great opportunities of a generation. Um, you know, we've seen some of this before in the Y2K epidemic, uh, in 99 and 2000, we certainly saw it in the great recession in Oh eight Oh nine and every decade or so there's some new crisis, some new wrinkle that causes economic turmoil and there are always winners and losers in those deals. And usually it's based on behavior, not circumstance.
So, yeah, so that said, um, for young families, Ashley, this is an opportunity for young families who are working to continue to dollar cost, average, continue to add to your 401k, continue to add your HSA account, continue to fund your five 29 plans. Um, whatever you're doing, that's growing money, particularly in a way that's going to be tax-free later is a total home run. We have relatively low market value. So you're buying on sale and we have the lowest tax rate in modern history right now. And I assure you that is not going to last. And I don't think it matters. Uh, the outcome of the election in November is less important than the fact that there was just two plus trillion dollar stimulus plan. Somebody's got to pay the bill for.

Yeah, exactly. I'm curious your, your thoughts on the stimulus plan. A lot of people have asked me, um, how that will affect, um, inflation. Do you have any kind of insight into that?

Inflation is, is generally a factor of either fed policy, monetary policy, or it's a factor of, um, of interest rates around the world and, and the confluence of those. So what I would say is right now, there's no inflation on the horizon. Um, there is a, a blossoming national debt that if we haven't already decided that debt is a crisis, it's a crisis waiting to happen. So that'll be an issue. Um, but in terms of inflation, there's no reason to believe that that's on its way. We haven't seen significant inflation in this country, 30 years, more than that. And so there's an entire generation back two generations who don't really know what inflation looks like. Um, uh, you know, I remember it as a young person basically, and I know that the house I grew up in, we financed with a mortgage at like 16%.
Oh, wow. Yeah.
With a visa card, that's kind of what that looked like and so of course there were refinances all the way down. We're so used to cheap money. We're not going to know what to do when it gets more expensive. I actually believe that there is no meaningful inflation on the horizon right now. Um, the, uh, congressional budget office just suggested that the inflation rate over the next half decade to decade will be in the 2.2 to 2.4% ballpark. The only organization that has quoted a higher rate of inflation is social security administration because they're backward looking. So I actually think inflation is going to be a nonissue. I think money's going to stay cheap. The real question is, um, whether people are able to take advantage of the buying opportunities in equity markets, um, and whether bond markets are able to recover without too much of a, of a, an oversupply with lots of people trying to sell. Right. And then what happens in real estate because real estate is really, I think, going to take this on the chin, particularly commercial real estate. Um, there's, there's going to be some major changes in that, in that arena.

Now, some people have asked me as well, um, you know, with the real estate now, the interest rates and stuff are already so low now with the fed dropping the rate down too. Well, last time I saw zero, um, I haven't been watching the news lately. It was just stressing me out. So, um, I don't believe that it's changed since then, but, um, you know, how will that affect like mortgage rates is my understanding that it won't really affect it because they're already so low.

Well, not, not only are they so low, but they've actually come up and not because of what the fed has done, but banks are recognizing that if they lend at those prevailing rates, it will, it'll cripple them for decades. Imagine if, if you had the ability to lend money to somebody on a fixed rate at what is one and a half to two and a half percent for 30 years, if someone was willing to lend me personally, a hundred million dollars at 2%, I would take it because there's no way I wouldn't out earn that. And so banks are going to get collaborative. So mortgage rates have actually come up, even though the fed lowered their, their federal funds rate. And the reason they've come up, isn't because of economics. It's because of business. These banks don't want, they don't want to make loans.

Oh, that makes sense though. Yeah. I didn't realize that part of it. That's why I have you here.
Well, Wells Fargo has already turned off the spigot for the, for the payroll protection plan that came out as part of the cares act and they won't be alone. That number one, that plan is going to run out of money quickly. And number two banks who are lending at that rate, even with some federal support are going to get clobbered and they don't want to do it. Oh, I didn't realize that part. Yeah. It's great to borrow money at a low rate, long term, but has got to be willing to lend it.

Exactly. Yeah. I did guess I didn't realize that it was going through the banks like that whole, and I know I really should, since I have a business, but I don't really have any employees, so I haven't like really dived into it. Um, for that stuff, I didn't realize it was having to like go through a bank.
Well, it is. And the commercial banks, the private sector is working with the public sector on this, which generally public private partnerships are the most effective anyway, in my opinion. But if you own a business, actually, you want to be looking into this now, anyway, because there are provisions in there even for sole proprietors and folks with no employees.

Yeah. I filled out something on the website the other day, but I was so confused. So I don't think I haven't filled it out. Right. But I don't, I don't think it was the payroll thing. I was, I'm so confused by all the different stuff going on, like the different, or at least it seemed like it was different. Maybe it's all the same thing. The pay, the payroll thing I thought was a different thing. And I don't know, I'm totally confused by all of it. And then I try and read it and I get more confused because it's like, everybody's saying different things. I'm like, I don't know,
time.

Anytime the federal government comes out with a plan you can expect, there'll be hundreds of pages long and, and completely opaque. And that's exactly what happened. And the implementation hasn't been smooth and, and the back end will be smooth. And, you know, the federal government generally doesn't run anything. Well, no, it's simply too enormous an organization.

[inaudible] exactly. You're exactly right. I worked, uh, you know, for a local government and, you know, the same can be said for just about any government, just because of the politics involved. And then, you know, you've got the community to answer to, and you know, you, can't always, you can't make everybody happy. It's, you know, just the whole dynamic of it. And so I can imagine, you know, on the government scale,
that's why I am very pleased to be neutral. I'm Switzerland. I truly don't want to take sides because I think both sides are messed up.
Yeah. It's just, it's just a mess. Yeah, it is. Yeah. It's so confusing too. So now for my listeners that I do have a lot of listeners that are small business owners. So what would you recommend for them at this time?
Well, if you were still able to, to be in business, if you still have customers or clients or patients, or, um, and are able to, to use your vendors and suppliers and all and so forth, and you're really impacted by this, um, then you're in the minority because most businesses are experiencing either supply chain issues or employment issues or technology issues or finance issues. Um, it's sort of a perfect storm. Actually. I think there's, there's a, um, there's definitely a sense that for business owners to get out of, what's sort of been thrust upon all of us. We really have to, um, number one, stop spending things that we can avoid spending really sort of clamped down on things that are unnecessary and focus on the things that will create longterm growth, things that might not work for three months or six months, but that will make us better businesses three years from now.

And so as an organization, you know, just our company, what we're doing is we're laying the foundation for the next, the next level of growth we're treating, uh, what started a month or two ago as a plateau that we're going to retreat from and then bust through. And that type of optimism is the only way I know how to do things. So that's, that's the way we're focused on it. And for business owners. Now, if you can keep your people employed with, or without the federal assistance program, that in and of itself is amazing. I think there'll be some amazing employee loyalty and great stories out of this, for those who are able to stay employed.
I really hope so. And I think that, um, you know, this is going to be temporary and once we get through it that, you know, I hope it's not going to be, you know, as bad as some people may think it's going to be, you know, we had a good economy before this happened. So, um, you know, hopefully we'll bounce back, but you know, there's probably going to be some ripple effects, you know, for a couple months, at least. Um, but I think, you know, overall things are going to be okay. I mean, you have to think positively or, you know, you're just going to be all depressed in your house, eating all your food, like,

well, I'm definitely not depressed, but what I will suggest to you though, is that we're not going to bounce back. Like it's like, it's, you know, elastic, this is not, and there is going to be a new sense of normal. I mean, the idea in the way that there is travel pre and post nine 11, there will be business and workforce pre and post COVID, and that's going to create some really amazing opportunities for certain folks. Like, for example, I think you'll see coming out of this, I think you'll see more telework. Yeah. See less boundaries and barriers in terms of hiring. So that you'll be able to work from anywhere. Companies are learning how to do this, and it's actually quite effective and efficient and saving some money. Well, it does. And I think you'll see better work life balance for people, which is something we've talked about, but never actually mastered Americans are lousy at that.

We tend to be workaholics, but I do think there'll be some work life balance out of this and some appreciation for what's important. Um, I think there will be, um, as a result of some of this, there'll be less traffic. If there are less people have to commute every day, there'll be less traffic, less traffic means less pollution, less congestion, less expense on things like transportation. There there's some positives that'll come out of this because new behaviors are being created. Absolutely. There's also some challenges. One of which is, um, you know, retail and malls. I mean, retail has been on that on its heels since, uh, nine 11. And it got worse in Oh eight Oh nine and it never fully recovered. And I think this is a bit of a death knell for retail, as we know it. Um, there there's no middle there's no middle ground.
You either have to be the cheapest or the best. And so the companies like the Louis Vuitton's of the world are probably going to be fine because they have their, their customers have an appetite for that and don't care, but everything else is going to look like Amazon or Walmart, because most people who are trying to pinch pennies or what have you are going to do that a different way. So retail is going to change. Office space is going to change. I mean, I would be darn nervous if I owned a, a 50, a 50 story office tower in a major urban area, I would be nervous right now that there will be companies saying, you know, we can get by on half this space, cause we're going to have some folks working from home or, you know, we just don't need all this space. So true. There'll be winners and losers out of this, but I really do think there'll be more winners than losers.

I agree. I think that we, you know, just like you said, we're all gonna learn from this and there'll be some changes and you know, just like you said, a new normal, um, you know, everything's going to be a little bit different once we get on the other side of it.
Yes, I think so. And I have a radical idea for you. Why don't we start making things in this country again? Yeah. Why don't we create jobs in, in manufacturing and in supply chain and be less reliant, not unreliant but less reliant on other nations. Why don't we put our people back to work, doing things that are important to us here at home as well? I just think there's opportunity there for anyone who can get it right.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that there will probably be a demand for that as well, with all the supplying issues, supply issues that we've had with, you know, all the, um, personal protective equipment and stuff. So, um, it'll be interesting to see how that changes in the future, um, just to kind of have more control over it. Um, so how can families turn this crisis into an opportunity, like when they're planning for the future? Cause that's, you know, that's what you do, you play it for the future. So what can we like for take me for example, I'm debt free. Um, I've got six months of emergency fund now in my situation, we don't know after this week, if my husband's going to get paid or not, but let's say he does keep getting paid. Um, you know, what would you advise? Like somebody, um, in that type of situation, they don't have any debt already. They have money and savings and they're still working.

Um, you two ought to be maximizing your retirement plans. You ought to be making sure that you're taking advantage of every tax shelter that exists. Um, that means particularly since I know you have, uh, a handful of children, more, more than a handful of you guys can't even play man to man defense anymore.
No, I know it's total chaos like that.

What I would say is keep doing what you've ostensibly been doing. If you're debt free, it means you're already a good saver and not a big spender. Um, if you know, you're self employed, you ought to be funding a self-employed pension, a SEP IRA or something similar to make sure you're taking advantage of the tax codes. Um, you know, if your husband has benefits through his employer, take advantage of an HSA and it like crazy, but don't use it, let it grow for a few decades. Um, if you have five 29 plans or other college funding for your kids, whether it's just the two of you or whether it's with their grandparents, that would be nice if that was happening, keep doing those things. This is a, this is an opportunity to keep doing what you're doing. Um, I do think there's going to be one of the biggest opportunities coming out of this for all families who have resources.
And I know not everyone does. And, and, and that's sort of an unfair thing, but for those families with resources, there's never going to be a better year than this year. I don't think to convert IRAs to Roth IRAs or, or, and the reason for that is that the combination of low tax rates, which I think we all know will go up and low market values, which I think we all believe will go up. If not immediately, then certainly over time means what a great year to pay taxes on some money and then let the recovery happen, tax free.
Oh, that's a good idea. You know, I hadn't even thought of that. That's a good idea.

The second time there's been a really good opportunity for Roth conversions. The first time was back in 2010 and 2011 because coming out of the great recession, the government needed money. And so what they said was, if you convert in 2010, you can actually split the income on your 2010 and 2011 tax return. So it doesn't creep up your bracket and so forth. I did my entire IRA at that time. Yeah. If I can split the taxes and not get crushed I'm in, um, this will be another opportunity like that. However, it's imperative that you have resources that are not in the IRAs to do this, do not pay the taxes from the retirement account. It defeats the entire purpose, right? So, you know, if you have $50,000 in an IRA and you can move it to a Roth IRA, pay taxes on the 50,000 this year, depending on your tax bracket, it might cost you 15 grand. But if it does, and if you have that in your non-qualified assets and mutual funds in cash, even, um, now's the time to consider that while markets are low and taxes are low, um, particularly the younger you are, the better it is.

Absolutely. Now, can you kind of explain to somebody that may not know what you're talking about with the, like an IRA and a Roth IRA? Like, what is, what's the difference and why you would want to do that?
An IRA, a traditional IRA, or a traditional 401k or four Oh three B are plans where you take a tax deduction typically for your contributions. And that means that you're contributing money on a pretax basis. You're not paying taxes in the year you contribute and they grow tax deferred for as long as you hold the account, there's no 10 99. There's no capital gains. There's no tax bill on the account until you make withdrawals. When you make withdrawals, it is taxed. Every withdrawal from an IRA is tax. Like it's a paycheck, it's ordinary income. So it'll be at whatever rates exist then. So if you're 30 years old and you're contributing to an IRA and you don't start making withdrawals till you're 70, the account will have grown for 40 years, it will have grown to a very big number. And then you'll be paying taxes on it at a future tax rate in 2060.
Um, I have no idea what that tax rate is going to be. We don't know from month to month must let much less decade to decade, but it won't be lower than it is now. So you're not only amplifying the amount of the account. You're also amplifying the amount of future taxes. The Roth is where you fund with after tax dollars, you've already paid your taxes. The Roth can grow tax deferred for as long as you hold the account. And when you make withdrawals, they're tax free income tax free. So they don't affect your tax bracket. They don't affect whether you pay taxes on your social security as a retired person, they don't affect your Medicare premiums. When you're older, they don't affect your tax bracket at all. Um, and the beauty of that is that it, no matter what the tax rates are at that time, those assets are not taxable to you.
Yeah. That's, I mean, that's a pretty good deal cause you're not getting, it's my understanding that you're not paying tax on, you know, any of it, like, like you said, like nothing,

Oh, well that's, that's correct. But here's the, here's the rub for, um, since the demise of the defined benefit plan, you know, everyone used to have a pension years ago, companies were responsible for it. And the 401k was invented not as an employer, uh, I'm sorry, not as an employee benefit, but as an employer benefit. Cause it took the employers off the hook to provide for retirement for their people four Oh one K was not a gift to employees. It was a gift to employers who no longer had to be responsible. Right. That said the premise of the 401k and the IRA is you're going to want to, you're going to want to make deductible contributions. Now we're going to incent you to do it. Cause you're going to want to do that now because your tax brackets higher now than it will be when you're retired. Well, actually that's a plan to fail. Yeah. All things being equal. If we're all planning, like we make more money at 35 than we will at 65, we're doing it wrong.
Yeah. That's true. That's I've never heard it said that way, but that's very true.
So, you know, if yes, if you're planning to be nearly impoverished, an abject failure, when you're in your sixties and seventies, then that is the plan for you. But in the event, you're thinking, man, I'm really going to grow some significant wealth. You want your tax bracket and retirement to be as high as possible because it means you have money.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So would you recommend somebody, um, you know, their, their, um, employer has a 401k and they have a match. Would you still recommend them meeting up to the match and then moving to a four?
Well, a lot of these companies have Roth 401ks. You can actually contribute after tax. What Roth Worland, K and still get the match from your employer into the traditional plan.

Oh yeah, that's right. That is gonna, um, at least with my last employer, that was kind of a newer thing that they had added, um, that you could do the Roth, your employer in terms of running that plan. They don't care whether you're in the traditional, the Roth makes no difference. It doesn't cost the employer more or less. Um, they're still making the match the same as, as they ever did. The match is not taxable to you when it happens. So it will be taxable when you retire and that's fine. That's typically 3% of your income. I hope you're putting away more than 3% or 5% or 6% of your income, or you will in fact be impoverished and you will need to have a, you will be in a lower tax bracket, you to, to not be putting away at least 15 cents of every dollar you make is a recipe for disaster. And sometimes higher than that, it depends how early or late you start.
Now, I have a dumb question here. How did they know? Like which part is the employer match? Like, is it in a different fund or like, how is that? Is it just tracked in the account? Right?

When you, when you look at a statement, the statement will have up to five or six different categories for money. So for example, it might have employee contributions, pretax, employee contributions, Roth, employer match, maybe there's an employer, safe Harbor or a profit share. There's forfeitures in the account because in a 401k, if one of your coworkers leaves the company and isn't fully vested air their money that wasn't vested actually gets shared amongst all the employees pro-rata Oh yeah. Um, so there, I mean, there's, there's going to be lots of different kinds of money in those retirement plans, but they all have access to the same mutual funds or investments. So yeah, it's really just an accounting thing. And if you look at your statement, you'll see a lot of the times it's not all in one line, it's multiple lines for that reason.
Yeah. I don't, you know, I don't really look at it since I'm not planning to retire anytime soon. And you know, I have a financial advisor too, that kind of helps me with stuff, but yeah, that's not, I mean, it's like, I hadn't like really looked at it close enough to like, notice that difference, I guess, on the, on the broader account, you know, I think there is like, you know, the employer match and stuff, but I guess I didn't really like think about it.
Well, if you have an advisor, ask your advisor, um, to, to provide you with some additional education on those kinds of things, it's important for you to not only understand what you're doing, but why. Yeah. And to be able to do that and to be able to articulate it so that you could say, this is what we're doing, this is our plan, and this is why we're doing it. It's empowering for you to know rather than say, Oh, we're in good hands. We've got a good person.

That's very true. That is very true. Now with, um, the Roth IRAs, like, is that something that somebody can set up themselves or should they really get an advisor for that?

I think almost anything we do as consumers, as American people, you can do any of it on your own. All right. This is not like a dental procedure. It's not a root canal. Um, there's, there's no reason people can't do it themselves. There are reasons maybe people shouldn't do it themselves. And a lot of that has to do with either the complexity of some of it or the, the, uh, emotion around it. I mean, people tend to make horrible decisions with money emotionally, particularly in times of crisis. There's a pendulum between greed and fear that never stops swinging. And you know, in 1999, when markets were going bonkers money magazine was publishing covers that said your neighbors are getting rich. Why aren't you? Mmm. And then you look at, at, at 2008 and it was, the world is ending and the markets could go to zero and we're all going to be broke. And you know, it's very sensationalized. So I guess my point, my point is that the biggest determinant to financial success in my opinion is behavior. Not, economy's not timing, not strategy. It's not about what funds you pick. It's not about, it's not about anything that's in a textbook. It's about the way you react, particularly under stress.

Absolutely. What are some of those behaviors that we can kind of start working on now that'll benefit us in the future.
I'm one of them, one of the things you can do to curb, some of the behaviors is to put as much on autopilot as possible. So in the same way that if you have an employer and you're putting money into your 401k with every paycheck, you don't have to think about that every other Friday and decided this is something you want to do. [inaudible] um, if you can automate your savings, your investment, your, uh, maybe your debt repayments, whatever you can automate. So that they're, you don't have to torture yourself based on what the news story does. Yours. You'll always be better off. That is a behavior that, um, that will pay dividends. Another is whatever your ability to save looks like today, make a commitment either to ratchet up that percentage every year or every time you get a raise, however you decided to do it, but make it an automatic thing.

So if you're saving 8% of your income, make sure it's going to be nine next year. We're make sure when you get a raise, you at least stay at 8% of the higher number. [inaudible], you know, it's those kinds of things sound little and they sound simple. And frankly, once they're set, you can set it and forget it. If you want to look at your statement or quarter, you don't have to, as long as you know that you own a suitable portfolio for yourself and that you're adding to it, every check, you don't have to study it every, every quarter is not necessary, but those behaviors matter. The other thing is, um, do a full financial physical once a year. This is really simple. It's just like keeping yourself healthy, get a physical exam, have your financial advisor, walk you through a full, comprehensive plan once a year.

And then everything else can be tactics and strategies and tweaks. But once a year know where you are and know where you are relative to your goal. And am I closer to her further from the goals that we set and how do we need to adjust to, to reset the trajectory? It's like, it's like planning a trip. You know, you know where you are, you know, where you want to be, but it's not linear. No, this is not your you're not going to get the same rate of return every year for 30 years and have the same inflation rate every, every year for 30 years. And it's not going to be simple like that. There'll be plus years and minus years and years where you get a bonus and years where you maybe are out of work for six months. And so it's important to be flexible, but I think once a year, you should take a full inventory, sort of do that full body scan like you would do in meditation for your finances.

Yeah. That's a great idea. Um, I think that's really good advice. Um, do you have any last words of wisdom, any last pieces of advice?
Yes. Um, what I would say is in, in, in the current environment, it is not, I think, wise to begin a financial planning Exodus today, because any planning you do right now will be impacted by whether you do it on Tuesday or Thursday this week, because markets are moving too much. So what I would say is if you want to consider engaging a financial advisor, go in with the idea right now that it's a second opinion, it's getting a once-over, it's looking at your portfolio, it's getting to know you, but it's not trying to build some kind of fancy trajectory. Don't pay a lot of money for a financial plan right now. Um, because it will not, I don't believe it will make sense for you. It'll be so different in three months that you almost have to start over and you'll, you'll kick yourself. So my advice is yes, get some advice. I do think there's a benefit. I wouldn't do my own tax returns. I think it's good to have an accountant or a tax preparer. Uh, I'm not using legal zoom or one of the websites to do that. I have a lawyer and I have a financial advisor and M financial advisor to hundreds of families. And I do think there's value in professional advice, particularly where it comes to behavior.

Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I've got a CPA and a financial advisor. And I mean, obviously I don't know about all the investment stuff like, you know, of course, like you said, you should learn about some of that stuff and at least have a basic understanding of it, but you know, there's nothing wrong with hiring people to help you so that you can make more money and do things, uh, better.
Well, th there, there are financial literacy tools out there. Um, there it's not taught in schools, it's, you can graduate with a, with a higher degree in philosophy, sociology, psychology, or, or biology and not have ever taken a course on personal finance cause they just don't exist. Um, but you can find them in the, in the, in the private sector, you can find them through your advisor. You can use various, um, various books or online tools. It just makes sense to educate yourself. It doesn't mean you have to do it yourself, but know what you're talking about, have some idea.
Absolutely. Do you have any recommendations for books or, you know, websites of course, uh, your own website as well for learning about these types of things?

Well, I, I would say that while there are several, um, the new book that's coming out that I'm publishing this fall, which is called don't retire, graduate is written to be like a college curriculum and it is a financial literacy tool and I'm very excited to have it come out. It matches the podcast that we're doing, and it really is designed to be educational. It's not preachy and it's not a textbook it's written in a very easy language and first person even. So there's that, um, I also put out a, an ebook, um, which is available for free download@wwwdotlowtaxbook.com. And it is on four strategies where you can put money, uh, and never have it taxed again. And of course the Roth is one of those areas, but, um, we've gotten a lot of positive feedback on those. They are ways to learn what some of these strategies are and how to reduce your taxes without reducing your wealth. So those are good. And then just in terms of, of general advice, there are some terrific columnists. I think one of the brightest in the world is Michael Kitces who writes a blog called nerds eye view. Um, and it's brilliant. It's very technical though. So you've gotta be, uh, you have to be interested in, in the, the technical side to really appreciate that. Um, I'm writing more in a, in a way that's, that's easy to understand.

Yeah, that's what I need easy to understand. You've got me really excited about this book, so hopefully, um, whenever it gets closer to time to, uh, being ready for purchase, maybe we can talk again and, um, talk to people about, um, about what you're teaching in the book as well. Um, now I do always ask people what their favorite nonfiction book is, you know, besides your book, do you have, do you have a non favorite nonfiction book or, you know, just something to help improve our lives?
I think the single greatest book ever written is Atlas shrugged. Um, and if, if you're familiar with Ann Rand, it is, it is a fictional story, but a lot of the book is nonfiction to the sense that it's philosophy, it's philosophy, it's economics, it's brilliant. Um, and it's a fascinating view of sort of how the world works and, and, and things that are happening now. It was written 60 years ago and it looks very much like our world today. So I think it's worth picking up. It is a heavy read. It's a long book. Um, but it's, it's definitely worth reading.

All right, I'll have to add that to my list. I have a very long list and no time to read right now. So where can people find you if they want to learn more about you?
Um, our company website is B F G F a.com and that's the BFG financial advisors site. I already mentioned low tax book.com and my podcast is that don't retire, graduate.com. So I'm pretty easy to find on social media and all the various sites you do. And, um, I look forward to connecting with some of your listeners.

All right. Well, thank you so much for taking your time to speak with us today about all this great advice on what to do right now, when everybody's panicking and, you know, stressed about their finances, definitely their retirement accounts and things like that. So, um, I really appreciate you coming on and, you know, calming some of those fears for us.
Well, I hope I helped a few folks and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks, actually for having me.
Thanks. Thank you so much to Eric for taking the time to speak with us today. And don't forget to go get your free budget spreadsheet, budget, a paycheck budget spreadsheet@leadstopbudgetsmadeeasy.com slash budget dash sheet, and I will link to it in the show notes. And I will talk to you guys soon.